Most of those whose relatives were victims of the purge got to know about political persecution from the stories told by their relatives.MOSCOW, October 5, 2018. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a survey studying what Russians know about the history of their families and the relatives who were purged. The study was prepared in cooperation with the State Museum of GULAG’s History.
Most of Russians (93%) are interested in the family history, including every second (51%) who tried to find out more about the ancestors; a further 42% are fond of the family history but they do not make a detailed study. Respondents aged 25-34 and 35-44 (95% for each) show the highest levels of interest.
Russians find out about the family history most frequently from the stories told by the relatives (72%). A further 41% search for information in the open sources and online archives. Every third respondent (33%) tried to find relatives through social media. And finally, 22% of respondents went to the state archives.
Russians are well aware of the political persecution in the 1920-1950s in the USSR (80%). At the same time, young respondents are least informed about the purges: half of those aged 18-24 (47%) have never heard of the Purge.
More than one-third (35%) say that they have victims of the purges in their families, including 14% of those who are well aware of their fate, 16% of those who know about their fate just in general, and 5% who do not know anything about the purged relatives. Every fifth (22%) is not aware if he/she has any relatives who were purged. Most of those whose relatives were purged got to know about it from the stories told by their relatives (91%); this share is 97% among residents of Moscow and St Petersburg. More than half of those who are aware of the relatives’ fate (58%) would like to know more about them. This share is higher among young respondents aged 18-24.
The Museum of GULAG’s History emphasizes the importance of studying the family history; its Documentation Center helps people find the information about their relatives who were victims of the purges. The museum has various outreach programs related to the family history (workshops with school students, theatre performances, etc.). The Director Anastasia Patlay is preparing a special theatre performance as part of the Art Night event.
More details in PPT file.
The VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on September 14, 2018. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.
|Are you personally interested/not interested in your family history? (closed-ended question, one answer % of total respondents)|
|Total respondents||Aged 18-24||Aged 25-34||Aged 35-44||Aged 45-59||Aged 60 and over|
|Very interested; I try to know more about the history of my ancestors||51||47||49||50||56||50|
|Generally interested but I do not make any detailed study||42||45||46||45||36||43|
|Likely not interested||5||8||5||5||6||5|
|Have you ever tried to search for information about your family, your ancestors in the following sources? (closed-ended question, one answer per each line, % of total respondents)|
|I have tried||I have not tried||Don’t know|
|Open data sources/online archives||41||59||0|
|Talking to relatives, family friends about the family history||72||27||1|
|Searching for relatives through social media||33||67||0|
|Do you know/have you heard/is it the first time you hear that there was political persecution in the USSR in the 1920-1950s? (closed-ended question, one answer % of total respondents)|
|Yes, I have heard||73||80|
|It is the first time I hear about it||27||19|
|Do you know/have you heard/is it the first time you hear that there was political persecution in the USSR in the 1920-1950s? (closed-ended question, one answer % of total respondents) 2018|
|Total respondents||Aged 18-24||Aged 25-34||Aged 35-44||Aged 45-59||Aged 60 and more|
|Yes, I have heard||80||53||69||81||89||88|
|It is the first time I hear about it||19||47||30||17||11||12|
|Was any member of your family a victim of the purges (the dispossessed, the exiles, the forcibly resettled and wrongly convicted persons? If yes, what do you know about their fate? (closed-ended question, one answer % of total respondents)|
|Total respondents||Moscow and St.Petersburg||Million cities||More than 500 ths||100–500 ths||Less than 100 ths||Rural area|
|Yes, there were victims of the purges in my family; I am well aware of their fate||14||10||14||14||18||13||11|
|Yes, there were victims of the purges in my family; I know about their fate in general||16||22||17||14||16||14||13|
|Yes, there were victims of the purges in my family; but I know nothing about their fate||5||3||3||9||7||6||5|
|No there were no victims of the purges in my family||43||44||46||43||36||44||49|
|I do not know if someone was purged||22||21||20||20||22||23||22|
|From what sources did you find out if someone was purged in your family? (closed-ended question, any number of answers, % of those who know they had relatives who were purged)|
|% of those who know that there were victims of the purges in their families||Moscow and St.Petersburg||Million cities||More than 500 ths||100–500 ths||Less than 100 ths||Rural area|
|Stories of friends, relatives||91||97||92||91||91||91||88|
|Internet, social media||3||2||4||6||3||2||3|
|Documents, mass media publications||2||1||2||2||1||3||1|
|Archives of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Federal Security Service||3||3||3||3||5||2||2|
|Would you like to know more about the fate of your relatives or the closed ones who were purged? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who had relatives who were purged but they are poorly aware of their fate)|
|% of those whose relatives were victims of the purges but they are poorly aware of their fate||Aged 18-24||Aged 25-34||Aged 35-44||Aged 45-59||Aged 60 and over|
|I’d rather yes||58||71||70||47||68||43|
|I’d rather not||39||29||30||48||30||51|
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